Cliff Doherty

Planning for all emergencies

Weather the weather brings heavy rains and flooding or hot, dry winds that elevate wildfire risk

Be Prepared is not just a Boy Scout motto.

Weather the weather brings heavy rains and flooding or hot, dry winds that elevate wildfire risk, the Shuswap Emergency Program has a plan for that.

“The Wildfire Management Branch is suggesting if we don’t get any rains in June, there’s a greater than average risk of wildfires,” says Cliff Doherty Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s emergency program co-ordinator.

The Shuswap Emergency Program (SEP) operates in the City of Salmon Arm, District of Sicamous and electoral areas of CSRD that surround Shuswap Lake  – South Shuswap, Falkland/Salmon Valley/Ranchero and North Shuswap.

“Our main role is not only responding when something happens, but also emergency preparedness,” he says. “Our biggest role is activation of an emergency centre.”

In the event an emergency operations centre  (EOC) is activated, there are roles for volunteers and government staff, along with police, fire and ambulance who will go to emergency centre to help support people working there.

“Our greatest effort is setting up a declaration of a state of local emergency and doing up the paperwork for an evacuation order,” says Doherty. “That’s the high end of what we do. At the low end, it could be arranging portable toilets or barricade – whatever the site requires.”

Emergency preparedness is another role SEP plays.

“I really think there is a need for the public to be better prepared,” he says. “For our part, the emergency program is right now exercising and training our staff just in case we need to set up an EOC.

SEP was in attendance at the Sicamous Safety Fair on the weekend and Doherty is very excited about a training exercise that will take place in Silver Creek on June 27 and will include Emergency Support Services (formerly Emergency Social Services) and CDART, the Canadian Disaster Animal Response Team.

“The premise is people being evacuated with pets… we just want to hone and practise,” he says.

An emergency evacuation course for the agencies and emergency program staff that would be involved in building an evacuation plan if needed will be held June 22.

“SEP is very much aware of the areas around the lake that have one main road in and one main road out,” Doherty says. “Evacuation planning does include the other alternatives to move people away from the area if that main road is blocked.”

For example, SEP officials have a 24-7 connection to the houseboat companies if that is a resource that is needed.

A workshop for personal and neighbourhood preparedness will take place at 7 p.m. June 9 at Shuswap Lake Estates. The workshop will last for about one hour, followed by another half-hour question-and-answer session.

Another Neighoburhood Emergency Preparedness Program (NEPP) will take place at 7 p.m. at White Lake Community Hall on June 10.

Doherty suggests interested citizens may find more information at the PreparedBC website.


For example, the PreparedBC: Household Preparedness Guide has information on such things as building an emergency kit, gathering items and identifying a safe meeting place.



Just Posted

Okanagan and Shuswap blossom at Communities in Bloom awards

District of Sicamous, City of Armstrong double winners at B.C. awards gala; Lumby also a winner

Internet speed testing implemented in the CSRD

Test results will be tracked to find areas where improvement is needed.

Sicamous Eagles lose two on the road

Despite late offensive surges, the Sicamous squad came up short in Spokane and the Beaver Valley.

What financial commitments do you want from candidates running for prime minister?

As the federal election quickly approaches, the Observer took to the streets… Continue reading

In photos: Magician entertains in downtown Salmon Arm

Children of Salmon Arm were treated to the wonders of magician Leif… Continue reading

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

B.C. Lions hype-man marks 15 years of cheers

Crazy P cheers, chants, bangs his drum and spreads a message of love

Former South Okanagan resident found dead in Alberta

Candace Deleeuw was reported missing Sept. 16

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Latimer surveyed much of Summerland

Civil engineer was also responsible of community’s irrigation system

Caught on Camera: Boat catches fire at Okanagan marina

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time, no injuries were reported as a result of the blaze

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Most Read